不靠上帝就能行善?

By:Rick Boxx

最近我在我們地區報紙的宗教版讀到一篇專欄。作者是一個無神論者。她描述她如何能不提到聖經而教導她的孩子行善。

她用兩個格言作為她教導的原則:「用你希望被對待的方式對待別人。即使沒有人看你的時候也要做對的事。」但她忘了提到(或者也可能她不曉得)這兩個原則都是源自聖經。第一句是耶穌在馬太福音7章12節說的話。第二個是耶穌在登山寶訓中的一句話,記錄在馬太福音6章1-4節。

那作者不斷說「行善」是一個標準,是一種自然且自動自發的事,只要我們願意試著去做。然而耶穌指出這種假設的進退維谷。在馬太福音19章16-17節談到一個年輕的財主問耶穌:「夫子,我該作什麼善事才能得永生﹖」耶穌對他說:「你為什麼以善事問我呢﹖只有一位是善的。你若要進入永生,就當遵守誡命。

耶穌教導那位領袖--可能是那城市的一位知名工商人士或企業家--善是從我們與上帝的關係中流露出來,而不是來自高貴的希望與目標。問題是即使我們想要行善,我們永遠無法確認自己的動機是什麼。如聖經所說:「人心比萬物都詭詐,壞到極處,誰能識透呢﹖」(耶利米書17章9節)。

例如,你可否100%確定當你對一位顧客或同事特別友善時,你並不是為了要贏得他的支持,或使他欠你一份人情,將來期待他們也以同等的友善回報你?你做的可能真的是一件善事,但你的原因可能是因為那樣做對你也有好處。

這就是為什麼保羅寫道:「沒有行善的,連一個也沒有」(羅馬書3章12節)。他不是說我們沒有可能行善,而是說即使我們盡力所做的善都被罪所玷污了。這就是聖經所說,我們背離了上帝,堅持尋求自己最大的利益,而非上帝的最大利益。

有人堅持人性本善,惡是人類異常的行為。但我們若誠實,就會承認儘管我們的用意是好的,我們還是常常做一些自知不被接受的事,或為錯誤的原因行善。

這是否意味著,不論在工作中、在家裡或在社區中,行善都無意義?並非如此,我們只是需要了解善的來源,如耶穌在約翰福音15章5節所說:「因為離了我,你們就不能作什麼。」祂聲明真正的善,不被自私動機所玷污的善,只能透過上帝的力量在我們生活中運行並透過我們的生命才能達成。

我們每一個人在各自的工作場所中作好人並行善是一個極好,且大家都想要的標準。只要我們記得善的基礎是建立在上帝的誡命中,雖然別人不承認上帝,也不把功勞歸給祂。

本文版權為正直資源中心(Integrity Resource Center, Inc.)所有。本文獲得授權改編自「瑞克.博克思的正直時刻Integrity Moments with Rich Boxx」。這系列的文章是以一個基督徒的觀點評論職場的正直議題。想要更多了解正直資源中心或想要收到電子文件的「瑞克每天的正直時刻Rick”s daily Integrity Moments」系列文章,請上網www.integrityresource.org

思想 / 討論題目
「不論我們承認與否,所有善的來源,都來自上帝。」你是否同意這主張?為什麼? 你可否想到有一次某人對你做了一件善事,但後來你發現那是出自他自私、不可告人的動機?請說明那讓你有何感覺? 文中說,即使我們的善意也被聖經所稱的「罪」所玷污,就像把一滴毒藥放入你最喜歡的飲料中,這會破壞了整杯飲料。你對此話有何看法。 知道上帝是善的來源能如何對你的工作有正面的影響?
註:若你有聖經且想要看有關此主題的其他經文,請看:
以賽亞書64章4-7節;馬太福音6章16-18節;羅馬書7章14-25節;腓立比書4章13節;提多書3章5節

BEING GOOD WITHOUT GOD
By: Rick Boxx

Recently I read a column in the “Faith” section of our local newspaper in which an atheist described her journey in seeking to teach her children how to be "good" without making any reference to the Bible.

Explaining the principles undergirding her teaching, she cited two mottos. "Treat people the way you would like to be treated. And do the right thing, even when no one can see you doing it." She forgot to mention – or perhaps might not have been aware – that both of these principles can be traced to the Word of God. The first is a statement by Jesus in Matthew 7:12. The second, also part of Jesus” so-called Sermon on the Mount, is presented in Matthew 6:1-4.

The author kept referring to "being good" as a standard, as if it”s something that is natural and automatic, if only we are willing to try. Jesus, however, pointed out the dilemma with this assumption in Matthew 19:16-17 when a rich young ruler asked him, "”Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.“"

Jesus was teaching this leader – very likely a prominent businessman or entrepreneur in his city – that good ultimately flows out of relationship with God, not simply from noble aspirations. The problem is that even when we try to do good things, we can never be certain of our own motives. As the Bible declares, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it” (Jeremiah 17:9).

For example, can you always be 100 percent certain, whenever you perform an act of kindness for a customer or a coworker, that you are not doing it to earn their favor or perhaps to obligate them for a time in the future when they can reciprocate with a comparable act of kindness toward you? What you do might truly be a good thing, but your reason might be because it also is good for you.

That is why the apostle Paul wrote, “there is no one who does good, not even one” (Romans 3:12). He was not saying it is impossible for any of us to accomplish things that are good; only that even our best efforts are tainted by sin, which the Bible defines as rebellion against God and insistence on serving ourselves and pursuing our own best interests instead.

There are those who would insist that mankind is inherently good; that evil is an aberration in human behavior. But if we are honest, we will acknowledge that often, despite the best of intentions, we still manage to do things we know are unacceptable – or do good things for the wrong reasons.

Does this mean that doing good, whether at work, in your home or in your community, is pointless? Not at all. We simply need to understand the source of good. As Jesus stated in John 15:5, “apart from me you can do nothing.” He was asserting that genuine good, untainted by selfish motives, can be achieved only through the power of God at work in our lives – and working through our lives.

Being and doing good is an excellent, desirable standard for each of us in our respective places of work, as long as we remember the basis for this good is anchored in God’s commands. Even if others fail to acknowledge Him or give Him credit for it.

Copyright 2010, Integrity Resource Center, Inc. Adapted with permission from "Integrity Moments with Rick Boxx," a commentary on issues of integrity in the workplace from a Christian perspective. To learn more about Integrity Resource Center or to sign up for Rick”s daily Integrity Moments, visit www.integrityresource.org.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
Do you agree with the contention that the source of all good, whether we readily acknowledge it or not, is God? Why or why not? Can you think of a time when someone did something good for you, but to realize at a later time that it had been done with selfish, ulterior motives? Explain how that made you feel. What about the statement that even our best intentions are tainted by what the Bible calls “sin,” much like putting a drop of poison in your favorite beverage would result in tainting the entire drink? Explain your answer. How could recognition that God is the ultimate source of good have a positive effect on how you conduct your job responsibilities? NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:
Isaiah 64:4-7; Matthew 6:16-18; Romans 7:14-25; Philippians 4:13; Titus 3:5

Show More